Saturday, January 14, 2017

1002. Meeting Point - Louis MacNeice

(?)

Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Somebody stopped the moving stairs):
Time was away and somewhere else,

And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop,
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.

The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise –
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air.

The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand.

Time was away and somewhere else.
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz
Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else.

Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash.

God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.

Time was away and she was here
And life no longer what it was,
The bell was silent in the air
And all the room a glow because

Time was away and she was here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

1001. The Dog Itself - Helen Farish

.
Memory rounds this up, breathless,
like the dog herding sheep
below the bedroom window:
dropped at my feet are smells –
wool in the rain, my aunt’s
cigarette smoked on the hoof,
gorse also, firs making green
(and what it all means,
that too has a smell).
Not forgetting the dog itself,
so pleased with its work,

I must pen it in quick.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

1,000 !!!!! Burning the Old Year - Naomi Shihab Nye

.
Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I did’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

999. The Good Shepherd - Stanley Moss

.
Because he would not abandon the flock for a lost sheep
after the others had bedded down for the night,
he turned back, searched the thickets and gullies.
Sleepless, while the flock dozed in the morning mist
he searched the pastures up ahead. Winter nearing,
our wool heavy with brambles, ropes of muddy ice,
he did not abandon the lost sheep, even when the snows came.
Still, I knew there was only a thin line
between the good shepherd and the butcher.
How many lambs had put their heads between the shepherd’s knees,
closed their eyes, offering their neck to the knife?
Familiar – the quick thuds of the club doing its work.
More than once at night I saw the halo coming.
I ran like a deer and hid among rocks,
or I crawled under a bush, my heart in thorns.
During the day I lived my life in clover
watching out for the halo.
I swore on the day the good shepherd catches hold,
trying to wrestle me to the ground and bind my feet,
I will buck like a ram and bite like a wolf,
although I taste the famous blood
I will break loose! I will race under the gates of heaven,

back to the mortal fields, my flock, my stubbled grass and mud.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

998. Compass - Jorge Luis Borges

  Translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reed

Every single thing becomes a word
in a language that Someone or Something, night and day,
writes down in a never-ending scribble,
which is the history of the world, embracing

Rome, Carthage, you, me, everyone,
my life, which I do not understand, this anguish
of being enigma, accident, and puzzle,
and all the discordant languages of Babel.

Behind each name lies that which has no name.
Today I felt its nameless shadow tremble
in the blue clarity of the compass needle,

whose rule extends as far as the far seas,
something like a clock glimpsed in a dream

or a bird that stirs suddenly in its sleep.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

997. Hojoki - Kennith Rexroth

Hojoki by Kennith Rexroth

A thing unknown for years, 
Rain falls heavily in June, 
On the ripe cherries, and on 
The half cut hay. 
Above the glittering 
Grey water of the inlet, 
In the driving, light filled mist, 
A blue heron 
Catches mice in the green 
And copper and citron swathes. 
I walk on the rainy hills. 

It is enough.

Friday, October 21, 2016

996. The Real World - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated by S. BaraƄczak and C. Cavanagh

The real world doesn’t take flight
the way dreams do.
No muffled voice, no doorbell
can dispel it,
no shriek, no crash
can cut it short.

Images in dreams
are hazy and ambiguous,
and can generally be explained
in many different ways.
Reality means reality:
that’s a tougher nut to crack.

Dreams have keys.
The real world opens on its own
and can’t be shut.
Report cards and stars
pour from it,
butterflies and flatiron warmers
shower down,
headless caps
and shards of clouds.
Together they form a rebus
that can’t be solved.

Without us dreams couldn’t exist.
The one on whom the real world depends
is still unknown,
and the products of his insomnia
are available to anyone
who wakes up.

Dreams aren’t crazy—
it’s the real world that’s insane,
if only in the stubbornness
with which it sticks
to the current of events.

It dreams our recently deceased
are still alive,
in perfect health, no less,
and restored to the full bloom of youth.
The real world lays the corpse
in front of us.
The real world doesn’t blink an eye.

Dreams are featherweights,
and memory can shake them off with ease.
The real world doesn’t have to fear forgetfulness.
It’s a tough customer.
It sits on our shoulders,
weighs on our hearts,
tumbles to our feet.

There’s no escaping it,
it tags along each time we flee.
And there’s no stop
along our escape route
where reality isn’t expecting us.